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Archive for October 2011

WS’s Halloween practice not spooky at all

COUGARS

Halloween practice at WSU was quite interesting. A Power Ranger walked by. A couple of schoolgirls. Even a group of folks dressed as soccer players. Wait, maybe they were headed to an intramural game. My bad. Read on for what happened at practice.

A frightful day for Gonzaga women’s basketball

There couldn't be a better way to start Halloween than with John Blanchette's column on a big kid that manages to enjoy the spirit of the day despite a few other demands on his time. It's part of what makes Kelly Graves (above, surrounded by his best friends in this Jesse Tinsley photo) so unique - and successful I'd say.

However, the Zags aren't in the preseason Top 25, a reflection of losing All-American point guard Courtney Vandersloot to graduation. An FYI, I'm no longer voting in the Associated Press poll since I will not be employed by The Spokesman-Review after Dec. 31.

Leftcoasthoops shows that the Zags are still pretty highly regarded. They'll certainly get a chance to prove it, going to Stanford for their second game Nov. 13 and getting a visit from USC on Dec. 4. By the way, while at leftcoasthoops, check out the series friend Michelle Smith is doing for ESPNW, a full access look at Stanford. Something tells me that Tara Vanderveer is one of the few coaches of an elite program that would allow that, though I'm sure Kelly Graves would as well.

Washington State is the only Division I team in the area that will play both of its allotted exhibition games. The Cougars played Seattle Pacific on Saturday and got a big boost from Spokane freshman Tia Pressley.

Chiefs prospect earns gold

Another quick hockey update.

The Spokane Chiefs dropped a 3-1 decision at Tri-City on Saturday. The Tri-City Herald had this report. They have a week to prepare to face the Americans at the Arena on Saturday. The loss ended their seven-game winning streak but they'll take an eight-game home winning streak into the rematch. Unfortunately I'll miss that game because I'll be covering state cross country in Pasco (too bad the games weren't reversed, then I would be down there.)

The Chiefs could be without Blake Gal, who could be facing a suspension after getting a boarding major and game misconduct late in the first period after he scored the tying goal. On television it looked like the hit wasn't as bad as it appeared and the TC player made a mistake the way he went into the corner. A game misconduct should be enough of a penalty but the league isn't working that way these days. As they attempt to clean up danagerous hits, they put all the responsiblity on the offending player and none in trying to educate players that taking a hit and protecting yourself is part of the deal.

Tanner MacMaster, the Chiefs first-round pick in the Bantam Draft, scored the first goal and added two assists as Alberta cruised to the gold medal in the Western Canada U-16 Challenge Cup. MacMaster finished the tournament with 2 goals and 5 assists to tie for second in scoring.

A tricky morning treat from WSU

COUGARS • UPDATED: 2:35 P.M.

What a nice day. I don't know what the weather is like, because I have yet to look outside my windows. But I know it's a nice day. It's Halloween and when I was growing up in Southern California, it was always nice on Halloween. So much so, the older boys used to play a trick on us little folk carrying paper grocery sacks. Read on.

• UPDATE: The Arizona State game on Nov. 12 will start at 7:30 p.m. and be televised by Versus. As I said on Twitter, better bring a blanket. Or three. By the way, it looks as if WSU was able to wrangle a TV waiver so that the game this Saturday at Cal can be televised back to Washington. Something official should be coming soon.

Settle in for a long WSU morning-after post

COUGARS • UPDATED: 6:15 P.M.

With an early start time for Saturday's game, there was enough time to get organized afterward, write and then put together items for this morning's post. Plenty of time. So we have more than usual for you on the link. Read on.

• UPDATE: Not a lot from Paul Wulff on his press conference tonight. We have a story in tormorrow's S-R and will pass that along in the morning. Cougars came out of game Saturday healthy. More in the morning.

Another painful loss for Vandals

It's now six losses in a row for the Idaho football team, and with each successive week, the setbacks grow more painful. Today at the Kibbie Dome, the Vandals were in great position to upset Hawaii. But it didn't happen.

Read on for more my story on the 16-14 loss, and more on the Vandals' quarterback situation.

A quick after-game post from Eugene

COUGARS

We've been at Autzen Stadium longer than I would have ever imagined, but we have just one more thing to do. Give you your post-game blog fix. Read on.

Vikings end EWU’s playoff hopes

Visiting Portland State used a strong running game to knock of Eastern Washington 43-26 and spoil the Eagles' Senior Day at Roos Field on Saturday.

You can eventually check out the game story that will appear in Sunday's S-R here

Eags trail after crazy first half

Portland State's Connor Kavanaugh connected with Justin Monahan on an eight-yard scoring pass from eight yards out with only two second left in the second quarter to give visiting Portland State a 22-20 halftime lead over Eastern Washington in Saturday's Big Sky Conference matchup at Roos Field.

The opening 30 minutes of Senior Day was filled with odd plays and big plays that resulted in the two teams combining for 571 yards of total offensethree lost fumbles and a PSU touchdown that deflected off the hands of at least two Eastern defenders and ended up in the hands of Monahan after Eagles defensive backs Jeff Minnerly and T.J. Lee collided in the end zone while trying to interception a Kavanaugh pass originally intended for Kalua Noa.

EWU quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell was sacked on five of his first seven pass attempts, but ended up throwing for 292 first-half yards and three touchdowns.  Nick Edwards caught two of Mitchell's scoring pass,and Greg Herd hauled in the other.

Eastern's first-half rushing total was a minus-12 yards, while PSU picked up 187 yards on the ground.

 

Landry Edi ruled ineligible

Gonzaga will go into the regular season without junior forward Guy Landry Edi. He's been ruled ineligible by the NCAA for eight games, GU officials confirmed Saturday.

More below in a short article that will run in Sunday's S-R.

A pregame post from damp Eugene

COUGARS

So I'm sitting here in the open-air press box at Autzen – note to my replacement: Always bring one more coat to a game here than you think you need – wondering what to write. Then it hit me. Read on.

An early morning post from Eugene

COUGARS

There are a few-more-than-usual links to pass along this morning, mainly due to the Pac-12 basketball media day in Los Angeles. And, of course, there is the full compliment of conference football games, headlined by today's action here in Eugene. Read on.

Zags cruise in exhibition win

Gonzaga thumped Carroll College 95-51 Friday in an exhibition game witnessed by 6,000 at the McCarthey Athletic Center. The Zags played everyone who was available except Kelly Olynyk, who sat out. He went through a few drills earlier Friday as he returns from the concussion he suffered last week during practice. 

Here's my game story that will run in Saturday's S-R.

GU set for tip

Good evening from the McCarthey Athletic Center. Here are tonight's starters, just announced: Sacre, Harris, Bell Jr., Stockton and Carter.

Head over to twitter.com/SRjimm for in-game updates.

Roundup of Chiefs news

A couple of hockey items I missed because I spent the previous two days taking a class.

* Spokane Chiefs defenseman Brenden Kichton was named to the WHL team for one game of the Subway Serires with Russia next month.

* Liam Stewart made the WHL Plays of the Week for his first career goal.

* Kenton Miller was traded again. That makes it two trades each for the two 20-year olds the Chiefs couldn't keep this season (the other is Matt Marantz). Going from Calgary to Moose Jaw is a step up in the standings for Miller, though not nearly as big as Marantz getting out of Lethbridge.

* Chiefs' prospect MacMaster has a pair of assists in Canada's U16 propsect tournament.

*There was a story of the Chiefs' doing charity work.

The streaking Chiefs are in Tri-City on Saturday night, riding a seven-game winning streak. However, all those games were at the Arena, the Chiefs have yet to win on the road. They return home a week from Saturday with an eight-game home winning streak.

Mead, CV, Coeur d’Alene win

Mead locked up at least a share of the Greater Spokane League football title, Central Valley secured the final 4A state berth and Coeur d'Alene kept rolling along, claiming the 5A Inland Empire League championship.

Here's our story about Mead and CV and here's our CdA story.

Friday’s pre-trip morning post

COUGARS • UPDATED: NOON

We're headed off to Eugene today, but before we get on the road, we have to put together our morning post, don't we? Read on.

• UPDATE: We're not at the Pac-12 media day today, but we wanted to pass along the writer's picks (I didn't vote as I will be leaving this job prior to almost all the conference games). The Cougars were picked to finish tied for 10th with Colorado. Understandable with the loss of Klay Thompson and DeAngelo Casto but it might be a bit low.

Wulff on Oregon, Tuel

COUGARS

We're headed out to football practice, but a quick post on what coach Paul Wulff had to say at his press conference. Read on.

Zags favored to win another WCC title

OK, this is a little different — blogging from the parking lot at the MAC. I've got about five minutes before I go interview Rob Sacre for the cover story of the S-R's special college basketball section that will run in about 10 days.

So, here's the news of the day from the WCC's tip-off event at Youtube headquarters in San Bruno, Calif. GU is the preseason pick to win another conference title and Sacre and Elias Harris were selected to the preseason All-WCC team.

UPDATE: Here's a link to the short article I put together on GU being favored in the preseason poll and a bit on tomorrow's exhibition game against Carroll College. It appears junior forward Kelly Olynyk won't play tomorrow. He suffered a concussion last week and still hasn't been cleared to practice.

More below.

Thursday Prep Page

Click the tab below to see Thursday's stories.

NOTE: I'll be tweeting tonight from the Albi doubleheader. You can follow at: twitter.com/srpreps

Sun shines, morning post benefits

COUGARS

Another day, another morning post. The monotony of it all gets to me after a while. But all it takes to break the spell is a peek outside. The sun is shining, there's a bit of sparkling frost on the ground, and the view is exhilarating. OK, back to the post. Read on.

Chiefs roll to 7th straight

The Spokane Chiefs scored early and often, rolling to a 6-1 win over the Victoria Royals in a Western Hockey League game Wednesday night, completing a perfect seven game homestand.

However, it was the first time since that first game the Chiefs scored first and didn’t have to come from behind in the second period or later, including three-straight third-period wins.

This time Mitch Holmberg, with his fourth goal, and Marek Kalus, his third, scored 34 seconds apart before the game was four minutes old. Later in the period  Dominik Uher got his fifth and Connor Chartier his first 40 seconds apart to close out the first period to make it 4-1.

That all but assured the Chiefs of an 8-0 start at home this season, the second-best such streak in team history. Spokane started 10-0 at home a decade ago.

3 stars: 3, Brenden Kichton (2 assists). 2, Mike Aviani (2 assists). 1, Marek Kalus (2 goals)

Long box below 

Switching sports for a day

COUGARS

We've got a different type of blog post today. Really different, so read on.

This week in preps

UPDATED

We've reached the final week of the regular season in Greater Spokane League and Inland Empire League football.

In 4A, Mead and Ferris have secured play-in game berths with Lewis and Clark and Central Valley squaring off to decide another berth.

In 3A, University sits at the top and Mt. Spokane and North Central will decide the other play-in qualifier.

QUESTION: What do you see happening this week?

Just another day at WSU

COUGARS

You would think, with 66 days until we move into the next phase of our life, things would be settling down. You know, Laz-E-Boy easy. But no. Nothing is ever that simple, especially around Washington State University. The school must have an exceptional drama department, if you get my drift. Let's see. On the link we examine the ongoing struggle to expand and modernize the football stadium and build a much-needed football building, the ongoing quarterback injury situation and the ongoing soap opera that is the head coach's life. And we do our typical run around the Pac-12. Read on.

Late night from WSU

COUGARS

It turns out Jeff Tuel was more banged up than previously revealed. His left clavicle is not fractured again – it's real sore though – but his right calf is pretty beat up. Read on.

A quick Tuesday morning WSU post

COUGARS

Why wait? Let's get right to the morning post. Read on.

Akey waiting for Vandals’ spark

Robb Akey is looking for something positive to ignite Idaho's woebegone offense. It hasn't happened yet, but the Vandals coach is optimistic of course. As he said Monday after the Vandals' bye week, “We’re as cold as the damn ice cubes in a freezer the way things have been going. But we get that thing switched, we can be the team (in the WAC) that gets hot. That’s why I had the blowtorch out all this week — see if we can melt some of that ice and get the second half to be better.”

Read on for more about Idaho football.

WSU’s Tuel out of practice, status unclear

COUGARS

Jeff Tuel was not at practice Monday night as he was undergoing an examination of his injured left shoulder and a sore right calf. Read on for more from Washington State's short practice.

Monday morning from WSU, Part 7

COUGARS

We tweeted the news last night (@vinceg55) about Jeff Tuel's injury and status for this week's game with Oregon – it's not good – but we have some more news on the link, so read on.

WSU’s morning-after post, Parts I and II

COUGARS • UPDATED: 10:30 A.M.

OK, we've taken a bit more time, have tooled around the Web to gather Pac-12 information – any second thoughts Utah? – and pulled together some notes and quotes about last night. Read on.

A postgame post from Seattle

COUGARS

Really, that wasn't all that hard to explain. “What happened today is they outplayed us today,” said linebacker Sekope Kaufusi. “Records don't matter, as you could clearly see tonight. Whoever comes out that day and plays the best, wins. Bottom line is, Oregon State made more plays than we did.” Read on.

Chiefs pull out another

Spokane fell behind for the fifth straight game but this time it didn’t take a last minute rally for the Chiefs to run their winning streak to six. The Chiefs, after allowing Everett the first two goals, stormed back to defeat the Silvertips 3-2, for the seventh-straight home win to start the Western Hockey League season. Ten years ago Spokane won its first 10 games. For the second-straight game and third time in the last five, Dominik Uher scored the game winner. Steven Kuhn and rookie Liam Stewart also scored for the Chiefs.

Stars: 3, Lotz, 2, Stewart, 1, Kuhn

Long box below

Newcomers shine in scrimmage

Back home and storied filed a while back on GU's Kraziness in the Kennel. For what it's worth, the Red Team, stocked with newcomers, beat the more veteran Blue 37-33 behind Kevin Pangos' 16 points on 6-of-6 shooting.

Here's a link to the article that will run in Sunday's S-R.

A couple of things that didn't make it in the article below.

WSU post, half-hour before game time

COUGARS

We're at beautiful CenturyLink Field – afraid of the news reports, we got here four hours early, and wasn't the first writer in the press box – and, after hearing the horror stories about the drive over, I want to say to all you West Side folks that drive to Pullman, I now understand your pain. Read on.

Saturday morning from Seattle

COUGARS

It's Saturday morning and I know the Washington State flag is being waved somewhere in sight of a TV camera. It's about all you can count on in this cockamamie world anymore. Heck, WSU's home game today isn't even in the 509 area code. Thank goodness my long distance is free or the charges I would rack up today would break the S-R's depleted bank. We have links and more for you, but only if you've seen the flag. Read on.

Mead, Ferris in football play-in games

The Mead and Ferris football teams secured play-in game berths while Lewis and Clark and Central Valley face off next week to decide a third berth.

Here's our Mead/Gonzaga Prep game story. Ferris edged LC in a slugfest. And in North Idaho, Coeur d'Alene sped to a 63-35 win over Post Falls. And here's our area roundup, led by West Valley stopping East Valley in Great Northern League play.

Another rally for Chiefs

For the third straight game the Spokane Chiefs entered the third period trailing and came up with a win. Friday night they scored three goals in the third period - the second straight game they've done that - to defeat the Saskatoon Blades 5-3.

Consider it a Czech-mate, with Czech Republic imports Marek Kalus and Dominik Uher providing the tying and winning goals.

Stars: 3, Connor Cox, Sas, 3 assists; 2, Mike Aviani, 2 assists; 1, Kalus.

Long box below.

Spurgeon getting noticed in NHL

About ready to drop the puck at the Arena with the Saskatoon Blades, one of the strongest teams in the Eastern Division, taking on the Spokane Chiefs.

The scratches are Hambling, King, Wedman and Nelson for the Chiefs. Mac Engel is in goal.

Jared Spurgeon's hometown newspaper, The Edmonton Sun, visits with the former Spokane Chief, who went from free agent to the National Hockey League in less than a season.

Former Chiefs prospect Josh McEwan is now involved in fighting poverty in Cambodia. Here's what he wrote on his Facebook page: Getting down to crunch time, a couple days until we leave!! But for anyone that doesn't know… I will be biking 144km across Cambodia to break the cycle of poverty for Cambodian children. I will be voluntarily suffering both physically and emotionally for the ones who are suffering involuntarily. If you feel compassion towards this situation please do your part and take action by donating to the children. Something as little as $5 can buy a box of screws for the safe homes and a donation as much as $1000 will save a child's life. On behalf of the hundreds of deserving children, THANKS!!… Just click the link below for more info… http://teammcewan.com/break-the-cycle-cambodia/

Found a story about the Norfolk Admirals linemate of former Chief Tyler Johnson, who is succeeding despite diabetes.

Krazy schedule

The public gets its first look at the 2011-12 Bulldogs during Saturday's Kraziness in the Kennel. The event is open to the public and seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Here's a schedule of events.

Top 100 countdown done; WSU 7th in Pac-12

Shocking, I tell you, shocking. Swish Appeal's ranking of the top 100 women's basketball programs ends today with the top 10 and - can you believe this? - Geno is No. 1 and Pat Summitt is No. 2. Wait, I mean, UConn and Tennessee. 

No. 3 is Stanford, which plays both teams in what has become the best two gamesof the regular season to judge the top since, as the story goes to great lengths to explain, the coaches ended the UConn-UT rivalry.

Of interest in the Top 10 … Louisville, which lost to Gonzaga in the Sweet 16 at the Arena last March, is playing at Washington State. … Gonzaga is starting the second home-and-home with Stanford, going to California this year. The visit to McCarthey last year was a sellout and the Arena was packed when Stanford won the Elite 8 matchup of the NCAA Tournament. … There's defending national champion Texas A&M, which Gonaga beat not long ago. … There's Baylor, which Gonzaga played not long ago, and Idaho played last year. … And there's Maryland, which was out here for the NCAA regional a few years back.

The  Pac-12 preason coaches poll is out and Washington State is showing signs of progress. The Cougars are No. 7, but it's actually No. 6 in the old Pac-10, I can't remember the last time they were ranked that high. Newcomer Utah is just ahead of the Cougs but Colorado is behind, along with old rivals Oregon, Arizona, Washington State and Oregon State.

BTW, at 11 a.m., Team USA with Gonzaga's Kayla Standish (Ellensburg, 32 above) and Katelan Redmon (Lewis and Clark, 23) faces Agentina in the Pan Am Games. … Sunday's 6 p.m. game against Games host Mexico is on ESPN2.

The usual Friday post, with a basketball note

COUGARS

What an event down in Tucson last night. Note that I didn't write “game.” The game itself wasn't great shakes, but the whole aura surrounding it, along with the blowout nature, which gave the ESPN guys plenty of time to talk about Rick Neuheisel's future, and the pre-halftime fight, made it must-see TV. Read on.

Liam Stewart out to prove self

A visit with Liam Stewart (son of Rod) and his mother Rachel Hunter reveals nothing more than a passionate hockey player and a dedicated hockey mom. First impression:, good kid with a chance to make an impact during his career with the Spokane Chiefs and a supportive mom with a lovely accent.  No. 11 for the Chiefs is bound and determined to make his own name.

WSU finishes up Thursday prep

COUGARS

Though the game Saturday is in CenturyLink Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks, it is a Washington State home game, of course. That circumstance – a home game 280 miles away – led to a funny occurrence at the beginning of Thursday's practice. Read on.

Thursday Prep Page

Click the tab below to see this week's menu. Pictured above is Nathan Weitz of Shadle Park at a cross country meet Wednesday.

GU women among the elite

Wins matter, but not as much as who they come against, so it's not surprising that after Gonzaga charged to the Elite 8 of the NCAA Tournament the Bulldogs are considered one of the best women's basketball teams in the country.

How good?

Well, the website tha tis ranking the Top 100 programs in the country, released No. 11-25 today and the Zags check in at No. 22. (Read the previous links to see the other criteria used in ranking programs.)

When you check out those 15 names - for example Iowa is No. 23, Texas Tech is No. 21, you're going to find some of the biggests names in the sport. There's North Carolina, Purdue and Texas, there's Rutgers, LSU and LSU, there's Ohio State, Vandy and Georgia.

That's pretty heady company and James Bowman of Swish Appeal, calls the Zags “the best women's basketball program in the Pacific Northwest.” Arizona State, UCLA, Utah, New Mexico and Montana, among the traditional strong teams in the West, didn't even make the top 25. Washington, which was once pretty good, didn't make the Top 100.

That's impressive. And here's why, according to Bowman: “It's going to be hard for the Zags to top what they did last season.  Seven straight West Coast Conference titles, and the second year undefeated in conference play.  A 31-win season, and an Elite Eight season, and a top three WNBA Draft Pick in G Courtney Vandersloot, who came close to sending Gonzaga to the Final Four through sheer willpower.  The hype put Gonzaga in the top 25 of NCAA women's basketball attendance.

“Gonzaga knew what was good for it, and signed coach Kelly Graves to a 10-year contract extension.  But how much of it was a perfect storm?  Having one of the top three seniors in the country and playing a regional semifinal on your own homecourt?  Graves might have been tempted into take the job at Washington, but keeping Gonzaga on top might be as much of a challenge as resurrecting the Huskies.  Lucky for Graves he just picked up G Taelor Karr who averaged 10.3 points last year at Kansas State…and due to the circumstances that led to her transfer, the NCAA made the decision to grant Karr immediate eligibility at Gonzaga  rather than making her wait a year.”

No question Graves and the Zags deserve the recognition and the fans are joining in. After finishing in the top 25 in attendance, they've set a record for season tickets of more than 4,000. It should be another entertaining season for the Bulldogs.

  

Gonzaga 23rd in coaches’ poll

Gonzaga is No. 23 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches' preseason top 25 rankings released this morning. Here's an article and a list of the top 25. North Carolina is No. 1, followed by Kentucky and Ohio State.

GU will face No. 15 Xavier and No. 16 Arizona. Other GU foes in the receiving votes category: Michigan State (28th with 73 votes), Butler (31st with 25), Saint Mary's 5, Notre Dame 1 and BYU 1 (thought Cougars would be on the cusp of top 25). Long Beach State, under the direction of ex-Zags coach Dan Monson, received 2 votes.

The Zags are picked to win the WCC, followed by BYU and Saint Mary's, by Yahoo Sports' Jeff Eisenberg.

Thursday morning with a WSU flavor

COUGARS

Let's see. Where do we go today, besides a Paul Wulff press conference and to football practice, of course? Well, there's always that seat in front of the computer in the apartment. Seems like a good spot right now. Read on.

WSU’s practice a bit wet

COUGARS

It rained during practice. And that wasn't the lowlight of the afternoon. Read on.

Akey sticking with Reader, says team is close

Idaho has an open date on its schedule this week, but Robb Akey still met with the media to give his bye-week thoughts on the 1-6 Vandals. Read on.

Preps this week

UPDATED

Thought I'd re-post this since there's a good conversation going.

Can you smell it? State football playoffs are three weeks away in Washington and Idaho (except the Great Northern League). That means two more weeks to settle state playoff berths.

Oh, what a final two weeks in the Greater Spokane League.

Click the tab below for more.

Combo post, update on Zags, ex-Chief Marantz

Uh oh, Gonzaga isn't ranked as one of the 26th-40th best women's basketball programs in the country. Actually, I'm sure that means the Bulldogs are going to show up tomorrow on 11-25. Could they be a top 10 (which comes out Friday)? When you read about what went into making this list, it's possible. Stay tuned. But for now, look at the programs already mentioned. It just shows what rarified air Kelly Graves and the Bulldogs have risen to. 

We're going to make this a 2-for-1 post … with a little hockey new. Greg Harder of the Regina Leader-Post has a story with twice-traded former Spokane Chief Matt Marantz.

It just seems like with a little news on both beats it's a waste of internet space to use up two blog posts. Wait, isn't internet space unlimited? Good question, but since I have both the women's basketball and hockey beats, and I'm working from home before covering high school cross country, one seems like plenty.

WSU’s Seattle Week up for debate

COUGARS

Washington State has a home game this week. But instead of fighting the Pullman traffic – and before you get all cynical and snide about that statement think about this; put an extra 20,000 folks onto streets not designed for it and yes, on game days, actually game weekends, the traffic is tough to navigate – we'll be fighting Seattle traffic, with its closed roads and folks in forest-green Subarus headed off to some folk-music palooza. So where do you think this game should be played? Read on.

This and that from WSU

COUGARS

Couldn't get to Paul Wulff's media conferences before we headed out to practice, so now we're playing catch up. We have what he had to say along with a note about an injury to an offensive lineman. Read on.

PSU, La Tech favored in women’s basketball

Eastern Washington was picked to finish in the middle of the pack in the Big Sky Conference and Idaho was voted near the bottom of the Western Athletic Conference in women's basketball polls released on Tuesday.

Big Sky coaches picked EWU seventh and the media had the Eagles sixth. Sherri Murrell's Portland State Vikings were picked first in both polls. Montana and Northern Colorado had the next two spots.

Six teams advance to the league tournament at the home of the regular-season champion. PSU won the tournament two years ago in Cheney and the Grizzlies won it at Portland State last year.

Louisiana Tech has the top spot in the WAC  with Idaho tabbed for seventh in the coaches poll and by the media. Utah State and Fresno State also received first-place votes. Utah State's Ashlee Brown was the preseason choice as Player of the Year.

As long as we're on the subject of women's basketball, one website is ranking the top 100 women's programs. It started with 71-100, followed by 41-70. Looks like tomorrow is when it's going to get interesting locally, which is quite a compliment to a program that has sold more than 4,000 season tickets for this season. Yes, that would be Gonzaga.

By the way, the Pan American games are undway, which means Gonzaga is practicing without senior starters Kayla Standish and Katelan Redmon, who are on Team USA. Their first game in Mexico is Friday.

Idaho men picked fifth in hoops polls

The Idaho Vandals were pegged to finish fifth in the WAC preseason coaches and media men's basketball polls, released this morning. Last year UI went 18-14 and finished third in the conference, despite being voted eighth in the preseason. “I think it kind of proves what we’ve done over the last three years,” coach Don Verlin said. “We’re building a solid, stable program here, and I think that’s why we were picked as high as we were, despite returning only one full-time starter and losing as many guys as we did.”

Center Kyle Barone, a reserve for most of last year, was a preseason second-team selection by the coaches. The Vandals' lone returning starter is senior point guard Deremy Geiger. Guard Landon Tatum also returns, as does wing Stephen Madison, and posts Joe Kammerer and Djim Bandoumel (who was ruled ineligibile after eight games last year).

Among the Vandals' many newcomers is 6-foot-6, 255-pound Dazmond Starke, who originally signed with UTEP and played at Eastern Arizona College. UTEP released Starke from his letter of intent in April.

More here from the WAC.

Moody Blues never sang about Tuesday morning

COUGARS

Sometimes writing the morning post is about finding stories and passing them along. Sometimes it is more about recalling things I wanted to write about the night before and just plain forgot. And sometimes it's about chasing down items and setting the record straight. Today it's all three. And yes, I know, the headline shows how really old I am. Read on.

Monday night practice at WSU

COUGARS

It's been a long day, so we're going to keep this short. But we do have a couple items to share, so read on.

Flurry of deals in WHL

Sunday was a busy day in the Western Hockey League, off the ice.

There were a number of trades, none involving the Spokane Chiefs, though there were rumors over the weekend they were in the hunt for the Lethbridge goalie that went to Brandon.

Most of the trades are wrapped up on Gregg Drinnan's blog. Lethbridge made the most moves and Tri-City got in on the action. There were a couple of more moves today.

It's not like the Chiefs shouldn't consider a move, but they're 5-2-0-1. One problem is all five wins are at home, along with the next three games. Winning might had the need to make a move, especially when teams are comfortable at home. However, the Chiefs have shown a disturbing inability to play well early in games. That said, they don't quit battling either. So it's a tough decision for general manager Tim Speltz, but neal or no deal, he's listening to offers.

WIAA state hoops tourneys

The details are still be worked out, but a source tells me that the Washington state boys and girls basketball tournaments will redraw brackets for all classifications after the first weekend of state play (the so-called regional openers).

Remember, the WIAA is determined to not allow any teams that lose the first night of state at the regionals a chance at advancing. That element was not received well last year.

A Monday morning WSU post

COUGARS

Good morning. It's Monday. TGIM. It's time to get back on the treadmill that is the college football week. Final goal this Saturday: Oregon State in Seattle. Read on.

Shadle’s Boese commits to WSU; Stanford review

COUGARS • UPDATED: 6:15 P.M.

We'll be back soon with our post on Paul Wulff's press conference but we wanted to pass along some news. Read on.

• UPDATE: We have some notes on said press conference on the link.

WSU’s loss to Stanford, the morning after

COUGARS

When I was in high school 40 years ago, we had an old Catholic priest who sobered up us freshmen real quick after we received our first quarter report cards. He said (cue deep Irish accent), “It's only a halftime score.” I thought of Father Cyril last night as I sat down to write the story of what happened to Washington State in its game with seventh-ranked Stanford. What Father Cyril was saying, and most of us were almost smart enough to understand, was those quarter grades, like football game halftime scores, mean nothing. Nowhere in the record books is a listing of who won the first half. The final score was, and is, what matters. In WSU's case Saturday night, that final score read Stanford 44, Cougars 14. Read on.

Chiefs rally yet again

The Spokane Chiefs had a pretty impressive hat trick this week – coming from behind to win three Western Hockey League games.

This time they broke through with three third-period goals against Everett to pull out a 3-1 win.

Stars: 3, Everett goalie Kent Simpson with 35 saves. 2, Anthony Bardaro with assists on first two Spokane goals, 1, Captain Darren Kramer, with tying goal, winning assist and Gordie Howe hattrick.

Long box below.

Stanford rolls over WSU in second half

COUGARS

As usual it's really late and we're just getting done with all of our items for tomorrow's paper. On the link we will give the wherewithal you need to read everything we've written tonight. Maybe. Read on.

Vandals drop fifth straight game

Once again, the Idaho Vandals were tantalizingly close to breaking through against an FBS team. And once again, they came up short. The Vandals fell to New Mexico State 31-24 in Las Cruces after their final drive stalled at the 2-yard line when Brian Reader was sacked on fourth down. Before going down on the final play Reader didn't see Kama Bailey, who was all alone in the end zone. Said Robb Akey, “We had every opportunity. The guy was wide open.”

UI is now 1-6, 0-3 in the WAC entering its bye week. Its only win came in Week 2 against North Dakota, an FCS school.

Mitchell leads Eags to third straight win

Senior quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell had another big day on Saturday, throwing for 400 yards and three touchdowns as Eastern Washington University treated a sellout homecoming crowd at Roos Field to a lopsided 48-27 win over visiting Northern Colorado.

You can read the game story that will appear in Sunday morning's S-R here, and you read the post-game report posted by EWU's sports informationd department here.

Big first-half by Mitchell gives EWU 24-10 lead

Eastern Washington quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell threw for 242 yards and one touchdown and rushed for another score in leading the Eagles to a 24-10 halftime lead in Saturday's homecoming matchup against Big Sky rival Northern Colorado at Roos Field.

Mitchell completed 17 of 23 passes, connecting with Nicholas Edwards on a 19-yard scoring pass, and ran 1 yard for another TD.

Winless UNC got 163 first-half passing yards from Seth Labato, but netted only one yard on 10 rushing attempts.  Eastern also had trouble moving the ball on the ground, gaining just 17 yards on 23 rushing tries.

Eastern got its other points on an 8-yard TD run by freshman running back Quincy Forte and a 43-yard field goal by Mike Jarrett.

A WSU pregame post

COUGARS

We're at Martin Stadium as the students wander in, taking their spots behind the Washington State bench. The clouds have broken up, the sun is shining on the field and there's little to no breeze. Perfect football weather. Perfect homecoming weather. Too bad there has to be an excellent opponent. Read on.

Day after opening day

Back with some notes, quotes and impressions from Gonzaga’s first practice.

OK, we’ll leave the impressions to senior center Rob Sacre. More below. 

Football Saturday from Pullman

COUGARS

What a great morning. I know it was raining hard here last night, but now it's just cloudy and cool. Football weather. Real football weather. With basketball weather just around the corner. We have links and notes on both.  Read on.

3-way logjam atop GSL

Lewis and Clark made sure there's a 3-way logjam atop the Greater Spokane League football standings Friday. The Tigers strolled past the Mt. Spokane Wildcats 31-7 at Joe Albi Stadium.

Here's our game story. Here's our area roundup, led by Colfax slipping past Lind-Ritzville/Sprague. And here's a list of scores and standings.

Bardaro gives Chiefs OT win

Anthony Bardaro scored with 1:50 left in overtime to lift the Spokane Chiefs to their second straight come-from-behind win over an Eastern Division visitor, a 3-2 Western Hockey League decision of Prince Albert Friday night. Story here.

The Chiefs trailed 2-1 entering the third period two days after beating Brandon 4-3 with a late goal after trailing 3-1 midway through the game.

Stars: 3, Baldwin. 2, Williams. 1, Bardaro.

Long box below.

A late-night WSU post

COUGARS

The Midnight Mayhem event at Washington State, kicking off the official start of the 2011-12 college basketball season, wasn't standing-room only in Bohler Gym, but there was a decent crowd on hand to get to know the men's and women's teams. Read on.

Shock bolster defensive line

The Spokane Shock beefed up their defensive line, announcing the addition of AFL veteran Anthony Hoke, 2010 Shockie Ayanga Okpokuwurk and ex-Virginia Tech Hokie Steven Friday.

Hoke had 15 sacks for AFL Cleveland the last two seasons. Between the 2010 and 2011 seasons, Hoke was with CFL B.C., but was released in April. Okpokuwurk had eight tackles and one sack in six games with the Shock last season. The Duke University product left after the regular season when the NFL lockout was lifted to re-join the New York Giants. He was released in late July. Friday was with NFL Houston in training camp and registered 1.5 sacks in a preseason game against the Jets.

Earlier this week, the Shock announced the addition of DL Jeremy Geathers, who played a key role in the 2010 ArenaBowl win over Tampa Bay.

Read more on Hoke, Friday and Okpokuwurk.

New guys impress at GU’s first practice

I watched roughly an hour of Gonzaga's opening practice and I filed a notebook that will run in Saturday's S-R. 

The first item is on the six newcomers (five freshmen and J.C. transfer Guy Landry Edi). My best guess (caution: after 60 minutes of watching) is that Gary Bell, Kevin Pangos and Landry Edi will at the very least be in the rotation, and I wouldn't be surprised if Ryan Spangler is as well. He is solid at 6-8, 232 pounds, and I kept trying to imagine defensive backs attempting to tackle him in the open field when he was a prep quarterback back in Oklahoma). We'll see how the next few weeks play out, but the point guard position (David Stockton, Pangos, Bell) will be an interesting one to monitor.

There are also notes on Elias Harris and an update on offseason injuries and how those players are doing now.

I'll have a follow-up post tomorrow morning. 

Chiefs face Prince Albert

The Spokane Chiefs are about 30 minutes  away from puck drop with the visiting Prince Albert (how many times will I type Alberta) Raiders and there's a little catching up to do.

Former Chief Tyler Vanscourt is wearing No. 21 for PA but the goalie he was traded for, Luke Lee-Knight, who got his first WHL win Wednesday, is not in goal.

First, D Tanner Mort and F Liam Stewart are back in the lineup after missing four games, out almost two weeks. Getting scratched are a pair of rookies, D Tyler King, F Jarid Hauptman. D Cole Hamblin out with lower body injury - at least we know it's not a concussion. Rookie F Cody Nelson continues to be a scratch.

Matt Marantz, the odd-man out in the Chiefs 20-year old cutdown, was traded again, Lethbridge to Regina.

Former Chief Tyler Johnson has scored in his third straight game but it looks like the Norfolk Admirals are going to lose for the first time in three games. TJ also has an assist, so five points in three games to start his pro career (there were 4 minutes left in this one at last check).

A quick WSU morning post

COUGARS

Much, much easier today. The computer seemed to nearly fly across the World Wide Net, landing softly on each website and loading faster than a UPS guy on Dec. 23rd. So we have your morning report in a timely manner. Yahoo. Read on.

Mead handles Ferris

The Panthers stunned No. 1-ranked and defending state champ Ferris 35-14 at Joe Albi Stadium Thursday.

Here's my game story. Junior running back Davian Barlow, who scored four touchdowns for Mead, is pictured above.

Look for Eags to look to Edward

Eastern Washington will try to build on its modest two-game winning streak on Saturday, when the Eagles welcome Big Sky Conference rival Northern Colorado to Roos Field for a 4 p.m. Homecoming matchup.

With wide receiver Brandon Kaufman out for the year with a broken hand, look for junior Nicholas Edwards to continue getting even more attention from EWU quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell and UNC's defense.

You can get an early look at the feature story on Edwards that will run in Friday morning's S-R here, and you can check out the game notes supplied by Eastern's sports information department here. In addition, I've inclluded this link to the weekly Big Sky notes supplied by the league office.

 

Tuel may start against Stanford

COUGARS • UPDATED: 6:15 P.M.

Remember way back to this morning when I blogged this about whether Jeff Tuel or Marshall Lobbestael would start against Stanford … “This morning I would say don't bet on either guy right now. I'm not sure which guy will take the first snap against Stanford.” Well, that was basically what Paul Wulff said today in his press conference. Read on.

Zags await opening practice

Gonzaga officially opens practice Friday and there's a media day scheduled as well so we'll have a post later Friday recapping opening day.

Meanwhile, the WCC announced it is teaming with YouTube to host the 2011 WCC Men’s Basketball Tip-Off on Thursday, October 27.  All nine WCC head coaches will be present to preview the 2011-12 season. The WCC offices are located near YouTube headquarters in San Bruno. Calif. 

The tip-off event will begin at 11:30 a.m., and will include live streaming interviews on-line at YouTube.com and WCCsports.com.  WCC fans will have the opportunity to interact with head coaches live on line via WCC social media channels throughout the course of the event.  For media, the event will include one-on-one availability with all nine WCC head coaches. More details to come.

Q&A with Idaho QB Brian Reader

Brian Reader knows the grim numbers from the last two weeks: no touchdowns in regulation, five interceptions, and a completion percentage that has been “awful,” in the words of his coach. But the Idaho quarterback has also seen enough this year to know the Vandals' offense — and his numbers — can look much better in the second half of the season.

I spoke with Reader earlier this week after practice and talked about refining his approach, getting the season back on track, and other things. See below.

Thursday Prep Page

Click the tab below to see this week's menu.

NOTE: I'll be tweeting from the Albi doubleheader tonight. You can follow at: twitter.com/srpreps

A delayed WSU morning post

COUGARS

If you don't follow our Twitter account, you missed the reason why our morning posts have been appearing anywhere from a half-hour to an hour late recently. For some reason recently, Adobe Flash videos on a few newspapers' websites have slowed my high-class MacBook Pro to a crawl. I've tried just about every work-around I can think of, but nothing seems to help. So we're slogging through the delays and trying our darndest to get you your news before noon. We did it today, but not by much. Sorry. Read on.

Chiefs rally to beat Brandon

For the second straight home game, the internet at the Arena kicked me off - and didn't let me back on - right at the end of a Spokane Chiefs victory. At least Saturday I got the blog done before I was stifled.

But, better late than never, Steven Kuhn set up Dominik Uher for an easy tap-in with 3:42 to play to give the Chiefs a 4-3 win over the Brandon Wheat Kings in a game they trailed 3-1 at the midway point.

3 stars: 3, Brandon's Stone, 2, Spokane's Kramer, 1, Uher.

Long box below

Tuel returns to WSU’s practice

COUGARS

There was something different about practice Wednesday. What was it? Can't put my finger on it. Maybe it was Jeff Tuel actually running around and able to be hit – though he never actually was. But he's been cleared to play this weekend and just might. Read on.

Meyer re-signs with Spokane

Erik Meyer, who took over as Spokane’s starting quarterback after being acquired in a trade last season, has signed with the Shock, the Arena Football League team announced.

Meyer was highly productive in five games, completing 75 percent of his passes with 22 touchdowns and three interceptions. Spokane scored on 34 of Meyer’s 39 drives, but the former Eastern Washington University standout wasn’t able to stay healthy, missing portions of games with cramps, a concussion and finally a season-ending shoulder injury.

“There is no question that this is a QB-driven league and Erik is one of the best in the game,” Shock coach Andy Olson said. “He showed complete command of the offense last season. We expect him to continue to improve his game and assert himself as one of the best in the AFL.”

Spokanetraded for Meyer after the team suffered a series of injuries at the quarterback position. He eventually beat out Kyle Rowley and Bill Stull for the starting job, though Rowley returned to the starting role when Meyer was injured. Rowley and Stull are both with AFL Pittsburgh.

Meyer, 28, is the seventh player to return from last year’s roster and the 24th overall. Under the AFL’s new pay scale, Meyer will earn more than $1,600 per game if he’s the starting quarterback – four times more than every other player on the roster.

More here.

WSU’s prep for Stanford seems to be going well

COUGARS • UPDATED 12:30 P.M.

After practice last night, Jeff Tuel told the assembled media it was one of the best Tuesday practices the team's had since he's been in Pullman. “Really good tempo with a lot emotion,” he said. Don't know what it will mean come Saturday, but just thought I would pass it along. Read on.

UPDATE: We don't have much more than this, and won't until we talk with Paul Wulff after practice, but Jeff Tuel was cleared to play by team doctors this morning. How he will be used this weekend is still up in the air and will be a game-time decision, according to WSU.

Preps this week

This seems to be a popular way to start the week judging by most comments by folks here. I'll do other blogging and tweeting, of course, but this is a good way to jump start our conversations about what is going to happen and what has happened.

As in, what the heck did Gonzaga Prep football do last Friday? I mean, I'm not surprised the Bullpups won. They're getting healthy again. But now they've jumbled up things and there could be some ties and possible mini playoffs after the regular season concludes. Albi Stadium has been reserved for the Monday following the final week of play.

A rather lackluster performance by area volleyball teams at the Crossover Classic. Mt. Spokane surprised, finishing fourth despite missing three starters. Post Falls fared well, but Mead finishing tied for seventh was interesting.

I wonder if volleyball, in general, is down in Washington?

Anyway, chat away.

WSU preps for powerful Stanford

COUGARS

Washington State is off the field after its first full-pad practice of the week. Nothing out of the ordinary, but we do have a couple things to pass along. Read on.

Geathers returns to Shock

Jeremy Geathers, a defensive end who played a key role in Spokane's 2010 AFL championship run, has signed with the Shock. Geathers was the defensive player of the game after registering two sacks in Spokane's 69-57 win over Tampa Bay in the ArenaBowl.

He went on to play for CFL B.C., but was injured early in the 2010 season. Spokane attempted to sign Geathers last season after trading DE Khreem Smith to Utah, but Geathers opted to join AFL Chicago, where he had one sack in five games.

Spokane also signed OL Sifa Etu, who is a former teammate of Shock WR Brandon Thompkins at Arkansas State.

More here.

The start of a long Tuesday at WSU

COUGARS

An interesting day yesterday, right? Not only was it the first day back to football practice at Washington State for the Stanford week, the Pac-12 was thrown into a tizzy with Arizona firing football coach Mike Stoops. More on both those things on the link. Read on.

WSU starts prep for Stanford

COUGARS

It's late, mainly because Washington State doesn't start its Monday practice until 7:30 but also because I had a couple of interviews to do after it was done. But we're done now and have a few notes. Read on.

Akey: Reader is ‘absolutely’ starting QB

Robb Akey again addressed Idaho's quarterback play and Brian Reader's status as starter during his Monday morning teleconferences with reporters. Read what he said below.

Another Monday, another WSU post

COUGARS

It's Homecoming week in Pullman. On the link we have a question about that, drawing on the deep readership base of this blog to increase my intelligence. Flawed plan? Only you can decide. And, oh yes, we have some Washington State news, notes and links. Read on.

Wulff talks about UCLA, Stanford

COUGARS

We're back in the Inland Northwest and will be for the next week or so, thanks to a home game in Pullman this Saturday (and yes, we've almost forgotten what those are like). Paul Wulff had his postgame press call this afternoon, so if you want to know what he had to say, read on.

WSU’s tough loss to UCLA, the morning after

COUGARS • UPDATED: 8:45 A.M.

We're in the airport after a solid four hours sleep, so if we mess something up, please forgive us. We're going to get this Sunday morning started with a few notes and all the Washington State links. Then we'll add the rest of the Pac-12 links and a few WSU and UCLA quotes later. Read on.

WSU drops a tough 28-25 decision

COUGARS

It's after midnight, so I really don't know why I should be blogging, but I am. We have some thoughts, so read on.

Chiefs dominate Rockets

Mitch Holmberg scored his first two goals of the season and Anthony Bardaro added two power play goals to spark the Spokane Chiefs to a 5-1 win over Kelowna at the Arena Saturday night.

However, it was 16-year old defenseman Jason Fram who got the Chiefs going with the first goal and second in two nights.

Cody Chikie scored for the Rockets late in the second period after it was 4-1. The Chiefs out-shot the Rockets 45-12, including 18-3 in the first period, getting the first 15 shots.

3 stars: 3, Fram, 2, Bardaro, 1 Holmberg

Long box below

Tuel not cleared to play for WSU tonight

COUGARS

It's time for our pregame post, this one coming from one of the iconic football facilities in the country (notice I didn't say best). And, for once, the post includes some news, though not the news Washington State fans want to read. Read on.

Tyler Johnson scores in pro debut

UPDATE, 7 p.m. Tyler Johnson scores again, adds an assist and is the second star again as Norfolk wins again.

The Spokane Chiefs are going to play their second home game of the Western Hockey League season in about an hour, Kelowna Rockets are in the house, but first there is a bunch of news to catch you up on.

First, congratulations to former Chiefs star and Central Valley graduate Tyler Johnson for scoring a goal in his first professional game. He was second star of the game after former Tri-City American Carter Ashton, who had two goals, including the OT game-winner. … Ex-Chief Dustin Tokarski was in goal.

The NHL debut of former Chiefs captain Jared Cowen (OK, he played a late-season game two years ago after he was drafted and picked up a penalty, now he's part of the rebuilding programs) didn't go so well as the Detroit Red Wings clobbered the visiting Ottawa Senators. Despite the score, Cowen was only a minus-1. The Sens play the Toronto Maple Leafs as we speak.  (Cowen wears No. 2 when you get a rare chance to see Ottawa on the tube.)

On Friday the Chiefs fell 6-4 at Kamloops, a game that saw them in a big hole before a comeback. It's not really a good sign when Darren Kramer and two young D-men have the goals. However, captain Kramer has four goals in 3 games.

Defenseman Tyler Vanscourt, traded for goalie Luke Lee-Knight last month, had a hat trick for Prince Albert last night.

A look at PR concussions

Concussions, by nature, are such a difficult animal to wrap your arms around. Is it poor equipment, violent hits or just the brain suffering bruising that causes a concussion. Nobody knows for sure. Staff writer John Stucke looked at what has happened in Priest River this fall. Pictured above is the Priest River team standing in silence at a game Friday.

Friday prep football

Here's our roundup of Greater Spokane League games, led by University's win over North Central.

Freeman remained undefeated with win over Newport.

It’s game day in Pasadena

COUGARS

It's game day, the best day of the college football week. For many fans, the only day. For the players, the day they take their test. Read on.

UI ready to ‘throw the V’ on homecoming

If you haven't heard, the Vandals have a new tradition (or at least one set up by the Idaho athletic department). They want fans to “throw the V” with their hands — sort of like Texas fans do with the hook 'em horns signal. They also have a new “V” logo. The V movement was unveiled Friday after a nearly weeklong buildup that started with an ad previewing the announcement in the student newspaper.

We have more on the reaction to the news below. But the Vandals are also playing a football game today (vs. Louisiana Tech in the Kibbie Dome), and it happens to be homecoming in Moscow. Read on.

Stretches of dominance

The streak of 20 straight victories by the Ferris football team got me to thinking.

I know Gonzaga Prep had a decade of dominance back in the 1980s when I was traveling the back roads of North Idaho on a regular basis - and enjoying it, by the way.

Could something like what Prep accomplished be duplicated today? I mean, you have to tip your hat to what Ferris has done the last four years. And over in Idaho, Lake City has made the state playoffs for 14 straight years under coach Van Troxel, a streak that is likely to end this year. Coeur d'Alene, the defending state champ, is clearly the heavy favorite to make it two straight. And to be honest, looking at coach Shawn Amos' under-varsity programs, I wouldn't be surprised to see CdA challenge for two more state titles after this season.

So my question (and you know a column will likely follow) is will we see any more long spans of success or are most of the programs in the region to a point where they'll all be competitive so it's unlikely we'll see one program dominate again.

And to the old timers, tell me what you recall from the 1980s.

Ferris, Mead win at Albi

I was told by more than one person Thursday night that it was a Spokesman-Review curse. I did a feature on Ferris running back Kole Heidinger that was published Thursday morning. It centered around the fact that Heidinger once had fumble issues but has overcome them the last couple of years.

Sure enough Heidinger, on a rainy night, was involved in two fumbles lost. So, naturally, the S-R jinxed him!

Anyway, here's a link to our game story from Thursday's Albi doubleheader.

ALSO, I'll be tweeting again tonight at twitter.com/srpreps. If you are attending other games in the region and can text or call me with scores, I'd be glad to tweet updates. My cell phone number is: 208-699-7621.

By the way, I just reached 300 Twitter followers. A modest number, to be sure, but at least it's growing. Thanks for following along.

WSU en route to Los Angeles

COUGARS

We're moving, which as George Clooney once said in a movie, is living. But it's also nice to take the time to read as many stories as possible about Washington State and college football. We've done that, now you can as well. Read on.

NCAA hands GU women a present

The NCAA made an unprecedented decision by granting Kansas State transfer Taelor Karr (above, in a Chris Anderson photo) eligibility to play with the Gonzaga women’s basketball team this season.

 

Not a bad way to kick off the first day of practice.

 

Here is the story.

A little extra from WSU tonight

COUGARS

The weather was a little wetter and a bit warmer today than it was Wednesday, so we're not complaining. Especially considering we'll be in line at an In-N-Out burger in less than 24 hours. Before then, however, we have a short practice report, a summary of Paul Wulff's presser and a special added attraction. Read on.

Shock open 2012 at home vs. Iowa

The AFL announced its 2012 schedule and Spokane learned it will open at home against Iowa on Monday, March 12. The AFL press release also contained a big surprise that it didn't exactly acknowledge: Dallas is out of business this season (see what I mean here; also more schedule info here.)

Spokane will have one NFL Network appearance, vs. San Jose on Friday, March 30. All four National Conference teams (Spokane, San Jose, Arizona and Utah) have just one NFL Network appearance. Tampa Bay and Cleveland each have five appearances, followed by Orlando, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Jacksonville and Milwaukee with four. Philadelphia has two NFL Network games. Chicago doesn't have an NFL Network game. 

More on the schedule/Dallas below.

 

Albi doublheader tonight

I'll be at the GSL doubleheader tonight at Joe Albi. I'll be tweeting updates. You can follow the tweets at: twitter.com/srpreps.

Nine PR players have concussions

There's been a rash of concussions at Priest River, according to this KXLY link. Interesting.

What do you think about this?

Chiefs fall in shootout

The Vancouver Giants picked up a new goalie and he was the difference in his debut, a 3-2 shootout win over the visiting Spokane Chiefs. The Vancouver Province also had a play-by-play of Adam Morrison's debut. There is also a slide show of game photos from The Sun, including the photo with Spokane's Steven Kuhn (above). As a lead-up to the game, The Province also chatted with Chiefs captain Darren Kramer about his role as a fighter.

Finally catching up with WSU

COUGARS • UPDATED: 10:20 A.M.

Got up this morning and turned on the computer. No World Wide Net. Nothing. I blame the guys power washing the decks in the apartment complex. Don't know what that would have to do with it, as they hadn't even started yet, but if Steve Bartman and ESPN has taught us anything the past couple weeks, it's that we always need a scapegoat, right? Miraculously, an hour later no problems. Sun spots? My obesity? TCU to the Big 12? Have no idea what caused it. But we're back now and have a pretty full post. Read on.

Prep Page Thursday

You know the drill. Click the tab below to see what's on the menu this week.

Despite conditions, WSU practices well

COUGARS

All of sudden it turned cold in Pullman. Not Arctic cold, but, oh, maybe Bozeman cold. With a slight breeze. And an occasional shower. Just the kind of day to have a poor practice. Well, that didn't happen. Washington State went through a crisp, intense, sharp workout Wednesday. Read on.

Potential recruit can’t visit Gonzaga

Katie Collier, a highly regarded high school basketball player in Seattle had quite a scare on a recruiting trip to Washington last weekend and will miss her trip to Gonzaga this weekend. However, basketball has become secondary, although she is expected to play in college.

A Wednesday full of news

COUGARS

Talk about a morning just chock full of news. Today is it. Nothing knock-your-socks-off major, but a bunch of interesting little stuff. Read on.

Rowley joins Pittsburgh Power

Quarterback Kyle Rowley's time with the Spokane Shock is over. He has joined the Pittsburgh Power.  Here is the AFL release. 

Tuel practices but reps limited

COUGARS

Practice is over and Jeff Tuel took some snaps in team drills. How did he look? Is he going to play this week? How does he scare his roommates? We have answers to at least a couple of those questions on the link, so read on.

Three starting dates for women’s basketball

NCAA women's basketball teams have 40 days to get in 30 practices, beginning yesterday, which means there are three different starting days for area teams.

Eastern Washington and Washington State started Monday and Idaho hits the floor today. Gonzaga commences on Thursday.

The men don't join the action until a week from Friday.

WSU women particpate in Midnight Mayhem with the men Friday, Oct. 14 at 8 p.m. The men will have a scrimmage and dunk contest while the women will participate in a 3-point contest and games with fans. The Cougars play Seattle Pacific in their first exhibition game on Saturday, Oct. 29 at 1 p.m.

Gonzaga is having a Fan Fest on Oct. 29 at 2 p.m. There will be a scrimmage and a variety of other activities. The Bulldogs play Corban in a scrimmage the following Saturday at 6.

Idaho has an exhibition game on on Friday, Nov. 4 at 6 p.m. against Warner Pacific in Memorial Gym. Eastern plays Warner Pacific the following Sunday at 1 p.m.

Season openers/Home openers

Washington State: Friday, Nov. 11 at Penn State Tournament/Wednesday, Nov. 30 vs. Gonzaga.

Gonzaga: Friday, Nov. 11, vs. Hofstra

Eastern Washington: Friday, Nov. 11 vs. Corban

Idaho: Saturday, Nov. 12, vs. Corban

Message inappropriate

The Coeur d'Alene High administration worked hard to salvage its football game this week against Moscow. Then the Coeur d'Alene booster club president, Chris Costa, sent out a very weak attempt at humor. He put together a list, a la David Letterman, of the top 10 reasons why Moscow decided not to forfeit the game to CdA.

Click the tab below to read the list. Quite inappropriate.

WHL justice served

Western Hockey League referees didn't get their man but league officials did when Marcus Messier of Tri-City was suspended for four games on Tuesday.

The infraction was a double-minor checking-from-behind penalty that injured Spokane's Liam Stewart in the Chiefs' 7-2 romp in their home opener on Satuday night.

Keep reading for thoughts on the matter.

This week in preps

We reached the halfway mark of the regular-season in Washington football last week. What do you see happening from here on out? The big game this week in the Greater Spokane League is University (2-3) vs. North Central (2-3) in 3A. The winner will most likely lock up the 3A top playoff berth. That would leave the NC/Mt. Spokane, the last week of the regular season, to decide the second berth.

Any teams surprise you so far? Any teams disappoint?

In volleyball, the big 64-team Crossover Classic is this weekend at four sites: Ferris, Rogers, Lewis and Clark and Shadle Park. The championship final is Saturday at 6:30 at Ferris. Many of the top teams in the state, including all the GSL teams and most of the North Idaho teams, will be on hand.

Here's your thread to start the week. Talk away. Click the tab below to read a couple of my thoughts.

A Tuesday morning post from WSU

COUGARS

Before practice last night we thought we would have to write a quarterback-situation story. Then during practice realized, because Washington State wasn't wearing any pads, Monday's practice wasn't any different for Jeff Tuel than the ones he participated in last week. No story. Then coach Paul Wulff decided to say yes when asked if Marshall Lobbestael will start Saturday against UCLA. Back to writing a story. Read on.

Quarterback job still Lobbestael’s

COUGARS

Washington State is off the practice field for its relatively quick Monday night practice and they have the same starting quarterback. Read on.

Akey has no doubts about decision

Idaho football coach Robb Akey isn't budging. He said today it wasn't a difficult decision to go for two at the end of the first overtime in a 21-20 loss at Virginia on Saturday. The Vandals didn't convert, but Akey said “there's no question in my mind” that it was the right call. 

We've got a summary of Akey's comments to reporters from earlier in the day. See below.

Williams back in Shock uniform

Defensive back Travis Williams, a member of the Shock's 2010 AFL championship team, has signed with Spokane. Williams had six interceptions and 21 passes broken up with the Shock. He has been with CFL B.C. the last two seasons.

He's the 20th player to sign with Spokane.

Former Shock receiver Markee White has signed with Arizona. Also, the NFL Network will televise the AFL game of the week for the third straight year.

PR football player in hospital

UPDATED, Tuesday, 1 p.m.

 

Bobby Clark, a Priest River High football player, is at Sacred Heart Medical Center recovering from an injury believed to have been sustained in a 63-6 loss to Timberlake on Friday.

 

Details are sketchy because Priest River High School isn’t releasing any information. Athletic director Brandi Johnson referred calls to the district office.

 

“That particular student we're real concerned about,” West Bonner County School District superintendent Mike McGuire said, citing the Family Educational Rights Act (FERPA) for not releasing his name. “We're hoping for a full recovery as soon as possible.”

 

Click the tab below for more.

Harris on Wooden Top 50 list

Gonzaga junior forward Elias Harris has been named to the Wooden Award Preseason Top 50.

Harris averaged 12.4 points and 6.0 rebounds last season, down from his freshman year totals of 14.9 points and 7.1 rebounds. Harris and Steven Gray were on the 2011 Wooden Preseason Top 50. Harris is the only WCC player on this year's list. It's a bit surprising that center Rob Sacre didn't make the top 50.

GU will play against at least three players on the top 50 (G Tu Holloway, Xavier; F Draymond Green, Michigan State; F Tim Abromaitis, Notre Dame).

More below.

WSU begins UCLA week

COUGARS • UPDATED: Noon

Good morning from the Inland Northwest. After a day off yesterday, the Washington State Cougars will get back to the weekly grind this evening with practice. After the weekend grind, you folks get back to slouching around at work today. We'll accompany you with this post. Read on.

• UPDATE: WSU senior linebacker Alex Hoffman-Ellis earned the Pac-12 defensive player of the week award for his 14-tackle, two-sack effort against Colorado. He's the first Cougar to earn Pac-12 honores this season. Also, the Homecoming game against Stanford will have a 4:30 p.m. start on Oct. 15 and will be televised by Versus.

WSU’s Tuel cleared for practice

COUGARS

We're still traveling, believe it or don't, so we're going to pop out a quick blog post and get on our way. Read on.

WSU’s comeback win, the morning after

COUGARS

Sometimes we wonder if any one is awake when we post these morning blog updates. Today we're not wondering. We know no one is. Heck, we're wondering if Washington State fans have stopped celebrating even now. Read on.

Chiefs crush Tri in home opener

Anthony Bardaro scored three goals, Steven Kuhn had a pair and the Spokane Chiefs went 4-12 on the power play to roll over rival Tri-City 7-2 in Spokane’s home opener on Saturday night.

 

Here is our story.

 

Long box below.

A dramatic win for WSU

COUGARS

So how noisy was it in Pullman when Marquess Wilson gathered in Marshall Lobbestael's perfectly thrown pass to save Washington State's Pac-12 opener? I'm guessing really, really loud, especially in a few taverns around town. Read on.

Vandals fall in OT at Virginia

UPDATED

There would be no repeat of the 2009 Humanitarian Bowl for the Idaho Vandals at Virginia. They tied the game in the fourth quarter to force overtime, but Robb Akey's call to go for two and win the game in the first overtime backfired in a  21-20 loss. After Virginia started overtime with a touchdown, Idaho responded with a  beautiful pass from Brian Reader to Armauni Johnson for a TD. But on the two-point conversion play, Reader was pressured and had to backpedal. His desperation pass to Michael LaGrone landed incomplete and the game was over.

Idaho is now 1-4 on the year. Read below for more.

Mitchell sharp as Eags build 24-7 halftime lead against Weber

Senior quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell completed 13 of 16 first-half passes for 209 yards and three touchdowns as Eastern Washington rolled to a 24-7 halftime lead against Big Sky Conference rival Weber State at Roos Field Saturday afternoon.

Mitchell connected with Nicholas Edwards on scoring passes of 22 and five yards, with the second coming just 19 seconds prior to intermission. His other touchdown pass went to Greg Herd, who took a short throw over the middle and turned it into a 51-yard scoring play.

Mitchell was operating without one of his favorite targets, Brandon Kaufman, who did not suit up because of a broken bone in his left hand. One of Eastern's starting cornerbacks, senior Alden Gibbs, was also on the sidelines in street clothes because of a thumb injury.

Mike Jarrett kicked a 46-yard field goal for the Eagles, outgained WSU 267-99 in the opening half and also rolled up a 17-7 edge in first downs. 

 

A pregame post from Boulder

COUGARS

This might be my favorite blog post of the week. The pregame post. When we look at the upcoming game, pass along our thoughts on how the game will go, then sit and watch the opposite occur. Read on.

CdA/Moscow game will be played

Just talked with Coeur d'Alene athletic director Todd Gilkey, who drove to Moscow this morning to meet with Moscow administrators. After Gilkey talked with Moscow officials, they in turn met with some concerned Moscow players.

Gilkey shared that CdA's players are tiny but speedy. He said Moscow should be concerned with an upcoming game against Timberlake, which has many, many more big players than CdA.

Gilkey also told them that CdA coach Shawn Amos' plan is to play his starters for about a quarter then substitute freely because the Vikings' junior varsity team doesn't have a game next week.

Because of the indefinite situation this week, CdA has moved Homecoming activities to the following week when it plays Lewiston.

Ferris grinds past Central Valley

Here's a link to the Ferris/CV game story. Pictured above is Kurtis Karstetter of Ferris scoring a touchdown.

Here's a link to our Post Falls/Lake City game story.

Our roundup, led by Cheney stopping Deer Park.

A link to statistics of area games.

QUESTION: Any thoughts on the Ferris/Central Valley game or other games?

It’s game day in Colorado

COUGARS

Another Saturday morning on the road, but this one is different. The Rockies loom in the background as Washington State prepares for its first Pac-12 game. Read on.

Vandals start new month at Virginia

The Idaho football team would probably rather forget September happened. The Vandals lost three of the four games they played (by 17, 30 and 24 points), and as quarterback Brian Reader said earlier this week, “We’ve had only a couple really good halves as (an offense).”

But, hey, it's now October and the Vandals still have a lot to play for. That includes this afternoon at Virginia (12:30, ESPN3 webcast). Read on for more.

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Jim Allen (@srjimallen) Sports reporter Jim Allen's primary coverage areas are Eastern Washington University football and men's basketball, and college and high school soccer. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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